Big Apple Mayor Takes Big Bite Out of Democracy

A special report from the Department of Really Bad Ideas in the Big Apple.

And now: A special report from the Department of Really Bad Ideas in the Big Apple. And this one is a doozie.

It comes from Hizzoner Eric Adams, the present mayor of New York City. Like mayors everywhere, Adams is routinely expected to respond to city council members, state reps, members of Congress and other elected officials who ask for help on city issues and problems affecting the people they represent.

After all, that’s how it’s supposed to work — local folks have an issue needing city attention, so they go to officials in their local community who can carry this issue to the top level. Most of these matters are resolved by — hello — relevant officials simply having a phone call, a quick meeting or even an email exchange.

But no — the Big Apple mayor has decreed that elected officials needing to discuss concerns of their constituents may NOT speak directly to him. Nor may they simply speak with his staff, meet with or engage with agency heads, or other mayoral personnel who could help the people.

Rather, Adams has decreed that supplicants wanting to approach the city’s public servants must submit a seven-page, online “engagement request.” The mayor’s intergovernmental office will review each one and then decide whether to grant or deny any official engagement.

An Adams gatekeeper hailed this bureaucratic intake process as a “new and exciting tool” to “improve operational efficiency and streamline requests.” Golly — even George Orwell couldn’t have conjured up a statement as soul-sucking as that!

Streamlined efficiency is the ultimate virtue for automatons and authoritarian regimes — NOT for public officials in a democratic society. Democracy is necessarily slower-paced, deliberative and inclusive. And it does not require — or accept — filling out a seven-page form to “engage” with your mayor.

The True Story About Coca-Cola’s Plastic Fairy Tale

Years ago, Coca-Cola excitedly debuted a new formula for its soda, dubbing it “New Coke.” Consumers hated it, and sales plummeted — a marketing fiasco.

But here comes Coke again, pushing an even worse product: “a better plastic bottle,” trumpeting it as “100% recycled.” Coke really needs an environmental PR goose-up, because today’s consumers know and care a lot about the massive plastic contamination of our planet — and Coke has been ranked as the globe’s number one plastic polluter for six years in a row!

Problem is, the corporation’s recycling hype is a fraud, for plastic is a fossil fuel polymer that essentially is forever. Even though most of us dutifully put throw-away containers in recycling bins, the industry’s dirty secret is that 95% of plastics can’t be recycled, so they’re simply burned, dumped in landfills or tossed “away.”

In a February report, The Center for Climate Integrity reveals that the plastics-industrial-complex has been like Big Tobacco and Big Oil — intentionally fabricating, promoting and profiting from a mass-market scam for decades. As the Climate Center commented, “The only thing the plastics industry has actually recycled is their lies over and over again.”

But, taking another lesson from tobacco and oil, Big Plastic figures that if one lie stops working, tell a bigger one. So, Coca-Cola is presently gushing about “better” plastic bottles, while plastic manufacturers are so desperate to keep peddling environmental contamination that their new media blitz frantically insists, “Recycling is Real!” Do they think we have sucker wrappers around our heads?

Of course, their “new” claims are nothing but re-fabricated prevarications. Meanwhile, the industry is planning to dump 300% more plastic on us. Hello, let’s get real — the only way to stop planet-choking plastic contamination is to stop making the stuff.

Jim Hightower